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SACRAMENTO November 6, 2017 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas today called on the Trump Administration to enforce and keep in place the Waste Prevention Rule. The Rule went into effect on January 17, 2017. It requires oil and natural gas producers to cut wasteful leakage of methane on federal lands. In a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Attorney General Becerra underscored that eliminating key provisions of the Rule would be arbitrary and capricious as well as contrary to BLM’s statutory mandate to prevent waste and ensure the safe and responsible development of oil and gas resources on public lands.
“As a result of the Waste Prevention Rule, oil and gas operators on federal and Indian lands are required to prevent the dangerous waste of natural gas. This is a significant development, as natural gas emissions threaten the health of nearby residents and our environment,” said Attorney General Becerra. “If the Trump Administration suspends this Rule, we are ready to take any necessary steps to help our children breathe cleaner air and to protect our planet.”
Since December 2016, California and New Mexico have been defending the Waste Prevention Rule from legal challenges brought in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming by industry groups and the States of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and Texas. On July 5, 2017, Attorney General Becerra and Attorney General Balderas filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for illegally delaying the implementation of the Rule. On October 4, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of the Attorneys General, forcing the Administration to immediately implement the Rule. The next day, the U.S. Department of the Interior published a notice of proposed rulemaking in hopes o f formally repealing this critical environmental measure.